This spicy and smoky concoction of stewed red peppers and tomatoes has become my new favorite go to recipe! It’s so much more than a dip. It can be a sandwich spread, a pizza topping, a burger condiment…the list goes on and on. Did I mention it’s vegan and gluten-free? Believe me, you need to try peperonata!
Keep reading for the recipe…
This recipe for fresh guacamole is so good, it could win an Oscar! Literally…
On Sunday when the Academy hand out their annual awards, I am most excited to see who wins the “Animated Short” category. Sure, I’ll be excited to see Hugh Jackman looking dapper, and thrilled to find out who takes home Best Picture, but this little category is of particular interest to foodies this year!
Keep reading for the story…
You can’t get much easier than a two ingredient dip. When it comes to the big game, sometimes you need to refill the snacks, STAT! This recipe can be whipped up in minutes and it is sure to satisfy hungry Super Bowl guests.
Keep reading for the recipe…
Today I am excited to show you not only how to make this delicioso “Tequila Spiked Guacamole” but I also have a few easy tips for styling and photographing your food at home. I promise you don’t need a fancy camera or a degree from Le Cordon Bleu!
Keep reading for the recipe and tips!
Football season is underway and you know what that means…Game Day Foods! This ooey gooey cheesy dip earned top honors in our recent “Game Day” recipe contest. If you love chicken enchiladas, wait until you try this Chile Chicken Enchilada Dip!
Keep reading for the recipe. Grab some chips and dive in!
Celebrations and Parties | Tags: chicken, Chicken Recipes, Dips and Spreads, Easy Chicken Recipes, Mexican Appetizer & Drink Recipes, Mexican Chicken Recipes, Mexican Recipes
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Do you have a holiday guest who is gluten-free? Maybe you invited a vegan friend over for a cocktail party? Traditional holiday fare can be tough when dealing with a variety of dietary restrictions. No worries! I have a list of my top 5 favorite appetizer recipes – each of which is great not only for those on a special diet, but ones anyone can enjoy!
Take a look at my Top 5 Untraditional Christmas Appetizer Recipes for Special Diets:
This Gluten-Free Fiesta Dip with Homemade Corn Chip “Stars” is a great addition to any holiday menu. Everyone will love the spicy dip and the star-shaped chips make the recipe even more festive!
Gluten-Free Fiesta Dip
8 ounce package block-style cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup hot taco sauce
4 ounce can chopped green chiles
2 Tablespoons chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
Chili powder for dusting
Gluten-free chips for dipping
Combine all ingredients except garnish and chips. Spoon into serving bowl; dust with chili powder and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips, corn chips, or homemade baked chips.
*To make homemade corn chip “stars” I used a star-shaped cookie cutter and my favorite brand corn tortillas. I lightly spritzed them with olive oil and baked at 350 until crispy!
Healthy and adorable! This Vegan “Christmas Tree” Veggie Plate with Hummus is prepared without any animal products.
Vegan “Christmas Tree” Veggie Plate with Hummus
Your favorite homemade or prepared hummus
Broccoli florets (reserve stem)
Cherry or Grape tomatoes
Garnish: Slice of starfruit, or yellow bell pepper cut in a star shape
On a large serving platter, spread a layer of your favorite homemade or prepared hummus. Lightly press the broccoli florets into the hummus in the shape of a Christmas tree. Use the reserved broccoli stem to make the tree trunk. Use the cauliflower florets to fill in all the blank space on the platter. Garnish the broccoli “tree” with cherry or grape tomatoes and top with a slice of starfruit! (If starfruit in unavailable, simply cut a yellow bell pepper into the shape of a star.)
Bottled cocktail sauce can be laden with extra sugars or high fructose corn syrup. This recipe for Shrimp Cocktail with Spicy Sugar-Free Cocktail Sauce tastes so much better and can be enjoyed by everyone!
Shrimp Cocktail with Spicy Sugar-Free Cocktail Sauce
6 ounce can tomato paste
1/4 cup Spicy V-8 Vegetable Juice
1 Tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl until well blended. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour to blend flavors. Adjust seasonings, if needed. You can make it as spicy as you like! Serve with cooked cold shrimp with tails. Make the shrimp even more festive by wrapping them with chive “bows!”
Bite-sized appetizers are always fun for a party. In this recipe, the “cups” are made out of sliced turkey! Everyone will love these Low-Carb Turkey-Spinach Cups.
Low Carb Turkey-Spinach Cups
24 slices refrigerated deli-style shaved smoked turkey or oven-roasted turkey slices
10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 cup pre-shredded Italian blend cheese
1/3 cup Garden Vegetable flavor tub-style cream cheese spread
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place one turkey slice into each of 24 miniature muffin pan cups. Press and form into a cup shape with high sides. Combine all remaining ingredients until well blended. Spoon a couple teaspoons into each turkey cup. Bake for 15 minutes or until filling is hot and edges of turkey start to brown slightly. Serve warm.
You don’t even need a recipe to make these Veggie “Chicken” Bites with Festive Garnish! Holiday guests will love the splash of color and burst of flavor.
Veggie “Chicken” Bites with Festive Garnish
Vegetarian “Chicken” Patties
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Green onion, sliced
Parmesan cheese, grated
Jalapeno peppers, sliced
Red pepper, sliced
Prepare “chicken” patties according to package directions. Slice into quarters. Top half of the wedges with cherry tomatoes, green onion and Parmesan cheese. Top the other half of the wedges with a dollop of sour cream, jalapeno slices and thin slices of red pepper. Serve with toothpicks.
Better Recipes, Celebrations and Parties, Fast and Fabulous, Fresh and Healthy, Holidays, Tips and Tricks | Tags: Diabetic Recipes, Dips and Spreads, gluten-free, Healthy Recipes, Healthy Snack Recipes, Healthy Vegetarian Recipes, Low-Carb Poultry, Low-Carb Vegetables and Sides, Mexican Appetizer & Drink Recipes, Shrimp, vegan, Vegetable Appetizers, Vegetarian Recipes
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Take a moment and contemplate this:
That’s right, it’s jam…made with BACON. Essentially a sweet, smokey, savory spread that opens up infinite pork possibilities.
At first the idea of a bacon jam might sound a bit jarring. (Pun not intended, but totally acknowledged as I type…)
All I can say is, you have to give it a try! Besides on a slice of toasted baguette, it can be added to grilled cheese, burgers or baked potatoes. Bacon jam is definitely a hot food trend as it has even popped up on Top Chef.
Our latest weekly winner, Julie Merriman, has captured magic in a jar with her winning recipe. Take a look at the recipe and then read all about this passionate home cook!
1 lb Good Quality Smoked Bacon – Cut Into Lardons
1 Large Onion – Small Diced
1 Large Red Bell Pepper- Small Diced
5 cloves Garlic, minced
1 cup Brewed Coffee
1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 cup Maple Syrup
3 Tbsp Packed Brown Sugar
3 Tbsp Garlic Chili Sauce
1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 tsp Ground Allspice
1 Tbsp Ground Cardamom
1/4 tsp Smoked Spanish Paprika
In a large skillet, cook bacon until browned and crispy, stirring often. Remove with slotted spoon to paper towel-lined plate; set aside. Discard all but 2 tablespoons fat from the skillet; add the onion, red pepper, and garlic and cook over medium heat until caramelized, 10 to 12 minutes. Return the bacon to the pan and add all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduce to a low simmer. Simmer over low heat stirring occasionally to prevent sticking for about 2 hours or until it has a thick, jam-like consistency and deep rich brown color. Cool slightly. Transfer to food processor and pulse for several seconds to finely chop and blend the jam. Serve with toasted baguette slices.
Julie says, “I created this recipe for this contest - I wanted to do something very different with bacon. I had a recipe for an onion marmalade that I loved, so I decided to add some bacon, make a few changes and voila – I like it even better than the original recipe! I think this recipe stood out first and foremost due to curiosity. The judges had to be curious as to what exactly is “Bacon Jam.”
Everybody loves chips and dip for a party. In this recipe, guacamole is formed into the shape of a holiday wreath with edible ornaments and bows!
Be sure to check out our “Top 20 Recipes for Christmas” for even more appetizers, desserts and treats to enjoy this holiday season.
- 1-1/2 cups coarsely mashed ripe avocado (about 3 avocados)
- 2/3 cup seeded, chopped plum tomatoes, divided (reserve 2 Tablespoons)
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 Tablespoon lime juice
- 1 Tablespoons grated or finely minced onion
- 1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Reserved 2 Tablespoons chopped tomatoes
- Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Place avocado in a mixing bowl. Reserve and set aside 2 Tablespoons of the tomato. Add rest of tomato, sour cream, lime juice, onion, chili powder, cumin, and salt to bowl. Stir to combine. Place dollops of mixture in a circle on a serving plate to resemble a wreath. Sprinkle evenly with the reserved 2 Tablespoons of chopped tomato. Sprinkle with some chopped fresh cilantro. Serve dip with tortilla chips or corn chips.
Number of Servings: 4
Better Recipes, Celebrations and Parties, Fast and Fabulous, Fresh and Healthy, Holidays, Tips and Tricks | Tags: Appetizer Recipes, Christmas Recipes, Cold Appetizer Recipes, Dips and Spreads, Easy Recipes, Mexican Recipes, Vegetable Appetizers
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Happy Halloween, Better Recipes! We couldn’t let this sweet and delicious holiday pass by without one, final recipe to celebrate. In fact, this recipe is the winner in Week 2 of the “Holiday Favorites” Recipe Contest! This dish is not only a great treat to serve a crowd, it is also a perfect centerpiece for a Halloween table! The sweet cream cheese spread “spills” from the mouth of your Jack-o-Lantern!
This is especially effective if you give the pumpkin a distressed face–guaranteed to get several “euwwww’s” at your Halloween celebration!
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
few drops orange food coloring
2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 1/2 cups candy corn
1 1/2 cup caramel corn or Cracker Jack mix
1 carved pumpkin, with the mouth towards the bottom of the pumpkin
Vanilla wafers or graham crackers for serving
In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, pumpkin, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and food coloring until creamy. Fold in the whipped topping, candy corn, and caramel corn. Place pumpkin on a tray, and spoon the cheese mixture from the mouth unto the tray to look like the pumpkin is throwing up. Serve with vanilla wafers or graham crackers for dipping or spreading.
Number of Servings: approximately 12
Congratulations to Sally S. for her winning “Halloween Treats” recipe! Tell us a little bit about your recipe and how you came up with “Pumpkin Guts Cheese Spread.”
“I tried to create a recipe that would appeal to a variety of ages, and that would be “fun”, yet taste good. I used a no bake pumpkin cheesecake recipe that I developed years ago as the base for it, then added Halloween-y things that would make it look chunky to be realistic.”
Very nice! It reminds me of our “Gross Halloween Recipes!“ Can you share one of your favorite Halloween memories with us?
“My favorite Halloween memory is when my son, who was a holy terror, won the “best costume” prize at his school for a devils’s costume (age 5), and he told me that his teacher said the costume was most appropriate!”
Better Recipes, Celebrations and Parties, Fast and Fabulous, Holidays, Sweet Tooth | Tags: Appetizer Recipes, Dessert Recipes, Dips and Spreads, Easy Recipes, Halloween Party Recipes, Halloween Recipes, No-Bake Desserts, Pumpkin Recipes
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This Sunday October 24th at 11:30am ET/PT on Food Network, the “Queen of Halloween,” Sandra Lee, will wow viewers with a special “Renaissance Halloween” episode of Semi-Homemade featuring five costumes created by legendary designer, Bob Mackie.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking with Sandra about her tips for costumes, decorations and, of course, recipes for Halloween. I was even able to ask a few questions on behalf of our Facebook and Twitter fans! She also told me all about her brand new cookboook, filled with 1001 semi-homemade recipes.
Facebook fans Rebecca and Jaymie both inquired about Sandra’s matching sets, wardrobe and tablescapes. Sandra explained that coordinating wardrobe and sets is not a new concept. If you look back at old episodes of the Lawrence Welk Show, Donny and Marie or Sonny and Cher, they often did the same thing. Sandra likes the idea of showing viewers what’s possible and appeal to a wide variety of different tastes!
Tina wanted me to ask Sandra about appetizer ideas for Halloween. Sandra said that when it comes to appetizers, the best bet is to stick with the classic favorites. Who doesn’t love cocktail wieners wrapped in puff pastry and dipped in mustard? Or a warm round of brie cheese topped with cranberry chutney? As easy as these appetizers are, they are always a crowd pleaser!
Here are a few other tips Sandra shared during our conversation:
Decorations: You can buy everything you need at the grocery store! Pumpkins, mums and even small bales of hay create great Fall tablescapes that can carry you from Halloween all the way through to Thanksgiving. You save time and money!
Costumes: Create “semi-homemade” costumes with some creative shopping in your own closet. No need to throw away ripped nylons. Simply pair them with some flashy jewelry and wild hair and you have a fantastic 80′s inspired costume!
Food and Drinks: It is all about having fun with minimal stress. Make cocktails by the pitcher but don’t add ice. When you are ready to enjoy, serve them up on the rocks.
This recipe for “Spooktacular Graveyard Dip” is one of our Top Ten Gross Halloween Recipes. A layered dip is always a hit with guests and a stress-free dish like this is on par with Sandra Lee’s entertaining philosophy!
Tortilla tombstones are placed in this dip, which layers cream cheese, sour cream, and green chilies with canned chili, cheese and lettuce.
- 8 eight-inch flour tortillas
- Black food color writer
- 1 4-ounce can green chilies, drained
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 15-ounce can prepared chili with beans
- 1 8-oz package shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 cups shredded lettuce
- 4-5 large whole pitted black olives
- Tortilla chips
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut tortillas into tombstone shapes, about 3-inches wide by 4-inches high. If using black food writer, write funny epitaphs on each tombstone. (For example: Yul B. Next or Al B. Back.) Spray tortillas with nonstick cooking spray. Bake until beginning to brown; turn; bake on other side and cool. In a small bowl, mix together cream cheese and sour cream. Fold in green chilies and green onions. Place in an 8×8-inch baking dish. Pour prepared chili on top of cream cheese mixture, then cover with shredded cheese. Bake until cheese is melted, then cool slightly. Cover cheese layer with shredded lettuce. Carefully set tortilla tombstones down into dip. Cut olives as follows to make spiders: Cut a small piece from closed end of each olive to make spiders head. Cut a slice from the side of each olive to make spider body. Cut remainder of each olive into 8 small pieces to make spider legs. Arrange spiders on top of lettuce around tombstones. Serve with additional tortilla chips.
Number of Servings: 4-6
Notes: Instead of food color writer, black food coloring mixed into some additional cream cheese and placed in a decorator bag can be used to write epitaphs after tortillas are completely cooled.
Better Recipes, Celebrations and Parties, Fast and Fabulous, Holidays, On A Budget, Tips and Tricks | Tags: Appetizer Recipes, Cheese, Dips and Spreads, Easy Recipes, Halloween Party Recipes, Halloween Recipes, Mexican Appetizer & Drink Recipes, Mexican Recipes
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